Transferring from Architectural Technology to Architecture



I am a student in a 2 year AT diploma at a Canadian Technical college, and am at a crossroads in my academic life. I'm done my second semester, but am becoming concerned that I may have made a poor choice in not applying to an undergrad program. I've come to realize that while the technical skills I'm learning are going to be useful in this career path, I most likely won't get to design anything significant (if at all), and am not feeling challenged by my program. I have a 4.0 GPA, and am thinking of Ryerson as my top choice to transfer into after graduating, but need some advice as to whether this is the right choice for me, or if my concerns are justified.

Some background information: I've wanted to be an architect for a long time. I went into my program directly from high school in 2016, after being recommended to my college by a design studies teacher. My high school marks were what I'd consider good (A's & B's, 155 credits, plenty of extracurriculars & the french AP exam), and gave me quite a well rounded education. My marks weren't high enough to be competitive in applying to somewhere like Waterloo, and I really wish I worked just a bit harder, but there's no sense in asking what-ifs. In my senior year, life events distracted me from the application process, and I was therefore relatively uninformed about university programs. I knew AT would be highly technical and that most universities had a theory-based approach, but now feel that I might've shoehorned myself into the wrong school for my goals.

I am now much more informed on admissions & know the steps I have to take to become a registered architect, and think a bachelor's degree in architecture would be the path for me even if I don't take a master's program & write the registration exam. So, my questions are:

-Does my Architectural Technology GPA boost my chances of acceptance, considering that my marks in the required high school classes were in the mid/upper 70s?

-Is an architectural technology background respected in academic circles? I know Ryerson's program is fairly technical, but would I be better served by going to a more theory-based school with my technical diploma behind me?

-Any other concerns that I should take into consideration? I know University will be much more challenging & am working on my portfolio, but am I missing something?

-I'm not expecting much luck in transferring credits (Ryerson takes an AT diploma as 2 generic credits), but am unsure if I'll have an edge over high school applicants.

Any information helps! I'm also thinking of U of T, McGill, or Laurentian as a backup (their program isn't pre-professional and is heavily focused towards northern Ontario, so it might limit my options for grad school & employment elsewhere)

May 14, 17 10:15 pm

Yeah, it sounds like you need to switch into a bachelor degree. You likely won't get far in this profession with a two year degree.

May 15, 17 12:27 am
Non Sequitur
Your ceiling is pretty obvious with only a AT diploma. Make the switch to a arch bachelor as soon as you can.

Build your portfolio with a healthy mix of conceptual design, progress sketches and a hint of technical work. The main error most AT applicants do is turn over their college homework as portfolio work. This never passes the admin review... it might for UofT, but that's because it's not really an architecture school.

Don't worry about grade so much, as long as you make the cut off. Focus on a portfolio. Just keep in mind that in order to wright the exams and record intern hours towards licensing, you require a Masters degree.
May 15, 17 6:17 am

I am in sort of the same situation as you in that I have graduated from a 3 year architectural technology program with a 4.0 GPA. You might be interested in looking into U of Manitoba's Bachelor of Environmental program, Dalhousie's Environmental Design program, and UBC has plans to introduce a 4-year Bachelor of Design degree starting in 2018. Laurentian's undergraduate program is considered a pre-professional degree, their Master's degree is just not accredited yet. That being said, in OAA's 2016 annual report, they noted that Laurentian has a very high chance of being accredited at the end of their 6 year period.

I got accepted to a couple undergrad architecture programs but don't want to do another 4 years for just an undergrad so I may attend OCAD's environmental design program for 3 years to finish or just complete a year there then try to transfer into Dalhousie's 3rd year entry program.

Another option is to use your 2 year diploma and transfer into a 4 year degree in something architecture related that isn't a recognized pre-professional degree. Two of the best options would be algonquin's Bachelor of Building Science degree, or Conestoga's Bachelor of Applied Technology in Architectural Project and Facility Management. Of course this route isn't as appealing but is always something to consider I guess.

If you have lots of money to throw around you can transfer into a Bachelor of Science in Architecture program in the states and probably finish in 2-2.5 years. Or another country, I received acceptances to schools in Ireland, UK, and Australia, all programs that I can complete in 2 years for an accredited undergraduate degree. Again, this is a lot more expensive but just another option.

May 15, 17 4:50 pm

Thanks for all the advice! Another option I'm considering is BCIT's Bachelor of Architectural Science, they allow students into 3rd year if they have an equivalent diploma to theirs in AT. An instructor of mine said only 1 student from my school ever got into 3rd year there, so I'm not gonna count on it, but it could be worth a try.

I also have the option of transferring directly into a degree in Denmark, which is more expensive but not as insane as american tuition. It's a direct pathway in as long as my GPA stays up, but once I add in living costs it could be a tight squeeze.

May 16, 17 11:38 pm

Yeah I talked to the program coordinators at BCIT and they highly advised against applying because like you said, they only accept 1 student which is insanely difficult. You could apply for advanced standing in their 2 year program that eventually leads into the bachelor program but that's sort of risky if you are not accepted.


Which school in Denmark?


I would want to study Architectural Techonoligst so I can start working after graduation, and then pursue Architecture and then a M.Arch. Would this work? And if so, how would I do this? I live In Saint Paul, Minnesota and am researching which colleges are best for this path.

Apr 24, 19 11:51 am

Highly doubtful that any courses in an architectural technology program will make an meaningful dent into credits for a bachelors degree. Find out what school(s) you might want to go to, find out what transfers, and only take those courses. You also won't be able to work very much during school. Your best bet may be to take generals at a cheaper place and transfer after a year our two depending on the programs you want your bachelors degree in.


Thanks for answering, it helps me a lot! I'll take your answers into consideration.


Don’t really know if they are a thing, but one of my local community colleges is apparently part of a 2+2+2 program where one gets an Associates, Bachelors and Masters. Each degree is at a different school but if they exist elsewhere could be an option. I have B. Arch and if I did it again I think I would have considered going to a community college for a year and cramming in a bunch of core classes. Where I was the community colleges were part of the university system so core classes transferred between all schools in the system.

Apr 25, 19 3:39 pm

Im working now in building  materials , back to school this fall 2019 and I'm taking architecture technology , just wanna know if it will help me to build my career? 

Aug 24, 19 12:03 am

Guys i just want to know what is the difference between being an arch technologist and an architectural 

Dec 3, 19 8:21 pm
Non Sequitur

One wears a cape, the other dances in bars for money on Tuesday nights.


Oddly specific, but okay :D


probably the technologist the one who’s dancing

Dec 5, 19 4:30 pm


Non Sequitur

perhaps, but only if they can be bothered to the read the above discussion before asking a question.

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